Weeknight Dinners

Chicken Taco Soup

Tacos are so hot right now.

If you’re a taco, you’re hash-tagged every Tuesday, you’re the go-to for weeknight cooking, you are a pantry staple, and you’re devoured within seconds of being served.

If you’re a taco, you’re trending + extremely popular + accessorize well with others. You may even be on a cool t-shirt.

Basically, Tacos are the new black.

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So what’s taco soup?

Tonight, Carter decided to re-name this soup to Chicken Taco rather than Chicken Tortilla because, “Mamma, this is just like a taco in my soup bowl.” And he’s right! We poured a little soup in the bowl, topped with crushed tortilla chips, cheese and avocado. Essentially, a taco!

I took a few recipes and mashed them together to create this one. I’m sure you’ll have everything in your pantry already – and if you don’t, it’s not a big deal…..

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups of crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • lots of fresh ground pepper

Garnish

  • cheese
  • avocado
  • chips (Tostitos are nut-free. Trader Joe’s are NOT nut-free)
  • tortilla slices
  • jalapeno
  • cilantro
  • lime slices
  • sour cream if it’s too spicy for your liking

Directions

  1. In a dutch oven over medium-hi heat, add your onion, garlic and bell pepper. Saute until soft, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken stock, black beans, corn, tomato, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. While it’s simmering, prepare your chicken. I like to cut the chicken into small cubes, about the same size as the rest of the ingredients in the soup. It’s easier to eat that way ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Cube the chicken and add it to the soup.
  5. Simmer for 20-30 minutes and let it thicken.
  6. Sample your soup and adjust the seasonings as needed. Usually, you’ll need more salt, especially if you use unsalted chicken stock, like I do ๐Ÿ™‚
  7. Serve with desired garnishes.

The yield on this is about 8. To change it up for left over night, try serving this over jasmine rice, couscous or quinoa. You could also omit some liquid and serve in bibb lettuce wraps for a super healthy crunchy taco.

I love this soup. It’s super hearty, healthy and comes together very quick. It’s a good way to clean out your fridge. Weekly, we have sliced bell pepper in snack size bags, and I did have some left over this week that I threw in here, so no waste! Our fridge is pretty empty now and it’s time to start planning what we’ll be eating for next week ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you are enjoying this weekend with the ones you love the most ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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Weeknight Dinners

Roasted Vegetables & Quinoa

There’s that word again. Quinoa. Keen-wah.

What is this stuff?

Well, quinoa is considered to be a whole grain but it is a seed that can be prepared like rice or barley. Quinoa is cool because it’s flexible and can be used in many different recipes and the flavor is neutral so it goes with lots of cool things. Just like the color black. I love black. When in doubt wear black. With more black.

Kids love quinoa, I call it pasta balls because it’s basically the same thing. If you make quinoa with a flavored liquid, like vegetable stock or chicken stock opposed to just water, you’ll enjoy it so much more.

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This week we wrapped up the Cara Clark Nutrition 10 Day Challenge and quinoa was a big part of our meals. So we made a giant batch and used it every other day with recipes.

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Roasted Vegetables & Quinoa was easy and very filling. Here’s the recipe from Cara Clark. If you haven’t checked her out yet, you should! She’s the best when it comes to making easy healthy meals and staying active while managing small people and work! She’s amazing and honest and I love that about her.

Ingredients:

  • ย 2 sweet potatoes, rinsed, peeled and cut into french fry strips (yum)
  • 1 red onion, cut into slices / half moon shapes
  • 1 head of cauliflower, rinsed and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, rinsed and woody ends trimmed by breaking
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 cup of quinoa, prepare according to package

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400* and line 3 baking sheets with foil.
  2. Once all of your veggies are rinsed and chopped, place them on the lined baking sheets. I noticed with this recipe that I had a TON of vegetables. The thing about roasting is that your veggies need room to roast. If they are crowded on the pan, they will only steam and wilt.
  3. Swirl your olive oil across the baking sheets a few times and sprinkle with salt and pepper. use your hands to toss + coat the veggies. This is so they do not stick to the pan and crisp up.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes and check on them. Flip them around making sure they aren’t burning.
  5. Bake for 15 more minutes or until your level of doneness.
  6. Make your quinoa according to package directions.

:::Extra protein:::

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We made some chicken breast tenders to add some protein to this dish. It was not my favorite, but here is what I whipped up at the last minute.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Kim Crawford white wine

Directions:

  1. In a large fry pan over medium heat, add olive oil and swirl to coat your hot pan.
  2. While your pan is heating up, put the tenders in a bowl and coat with the oregano, garlic, onion powder, parsley and s+p.
  3. Add the chicken strips to the pan. Feel free to add more herbs as you see fit. I like to add stuff until it starts to smell good. I tend to use more herbs because you cant really mess those up. Garlic and onion, not so much, those can kill your food in a big hurry if you over use them.
  4. Cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes each side. You’ll see the pan start to get dirty, so this is where Kim comes in.
  5. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup Kim Crawford to deglaze your pan and get all the crunchy bits off. This makes washing your pan so much easier when you’re done cooking.
  6. If you don’t have white wine, just use chicken stock, or vegetable stock. Just make sure your cooking liquid matches the color of your meat ๐Ÿ˜‰

The kids ate everything on their plates, and so did we. They did need some sauce though because no matter how hard I try to make decent chicken, it always turns out DRY. And mine was dry. So BBQ did the trick. Sweet Baby Rays is safe for nut allergies.

There you have it. Weeknight cooking. It was a lot easier than it looks. My advice would be to skip the chicken and use a store bought chicken strip like Dino Nuggets and focus on roasting some healthy veggies. Quinoa is a no-brainer, just make it.

Have a great week ๐Ÿ™‚

Holiday Favorites

Christmas Day Eats

We’re in the process of getting Christmas Eve dinner ready (yes, early so that we can enjoy time with the kiddos!). But we’re already thinking of tomorrows dinner. Here’s what we have planned, maybe it will be an easy idea for you, too.

Christmas Dayย 

Brunch:

  1. Mimosas
  2. Strawberry, watermelon and blueberry fruit salad
  3. French Toast – shortcut, our recipe calls for day-old french bread. We know that Subway is safe bread, so we picked up 4 large loaves and they are in the process of chilling out on our countertop for tomorrow.ย https://www.yummly.com/#recipe/Baked-French-Toast-Allrecipes
  4. Organic breakfast sausages from Conscious Carnivore

Lunch / Snack:

  1. Frozen Chicken Tenders – Brand: Tyson
  2. Frozen Onion Rings – Brand: Alexia, nutfree
  3. Frozen French Fries – Brand: Alexia, nutfree
  4. Vegetable Tray – pre-made from Metcalfes
  5. Cookie Tray
  6. Chips and Salsa

Dinner:

  1. Sous Vide Steaks:::Click Here for Recipe
  2. Roasted brussel sprouts
  3. Roasted Parsnips
  4. Double baked potatoes with all the fixins!
  5. Christmas cookie tray
Holiday Favorites

Christmas Eve Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve Eve is celebrated on December 23 and we traditionally have a Mexican Fiesta. This started a few years back when my Dad brought handmade Tamales for dinner. It’s a great meal, and nice to have something different during a time where many meals are heavy and extremely unhealthy. Tamales are not healthy, but all the sides we make with it are. Plus, it’s SUPER easy, nut-free and everyone loves Mexican food!!!

Here’s our menu. It’s also a good day to kick back a little and enjoy the holidays without the pressure of cooking / being in the kitchen since Mexican food can kind of just chill out for a while. Eat + snack, open gifts. Repeat. That’s what we do. Flannel is recommended attire.

Menu

  1. Two (2) packs of hand made Tamales from El Ray Mexican Grocery Store, Milwaukee, WI.
  2. Spanish rice
  3. Black beans
  4. Salsa + Tostitos Chips
  5. Homemade Guacamole
  6. Corn bread (Betty Crocker is the only NUTFREE pre-mix brand available, not all stores have it. Target usually carries it.)

I’ll post a pic here when Dad and Mary come by this Saturday ๐Ÿ™‚

Weeknight Dinners

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

This blog post is dedicated to my Mother-in-Law, Sue, who passed away while we were at a conference this past weekend in Denver. She inspired my husband to cook, who inspired me to cook because our daughter has life-threatening food allergies. We love her so much and her presence is missed dearly.ย  Through her manyย  delicious recipes, we will keep her memory alive. May she rest in peace.

This week has been full of emotion for us. High highs and very low lows. The highs came from the exciting travel and conference my hubs and I attended together, FaBlogCon, in Denver, CO. We love Denver soย  much. We had some fun date nights with his best friend + family, enjoyed some couple time, ate some great food (full of nuts) and met some new friends along the way. We both learned so much from FaBlogCon and we will definitely attend in the future. My hubs did the science/medicine track while I did the arts/blogger track. It worked out great.

This is the first meal I have made in over a week. I had other things that I wanted to blog about upon returning from FaBlogCon, but that’s life, and things happen. Slow cooker Indian Butter Chicken just sounded comforting and nut free.

Ingredients

  • 3 pieces naan bread
  • 1 red onion (I used yellow, oops)
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes, washed and quartered
  • 1 green chile
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
  • 1.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • sprinkle kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 15oz tomato sauce*
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. Crumble 1/2 piece naan into bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Add the red onion, potatoes, chile, cilantro stems. Arrange chicken over the veg.
  3. Sprinkle garam masala over chicken.
  4. Add salt, pepper and dot with butter, add cinnamon stick
  5. Pour the tomato sauce over the top, cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
  6. Uncover and switch to warm setting or turn off completely
  7. Gently stir in the heavy cream
  8. Break chicken into large chunks
  9. Let stand 10 minutes
  10. Stir in the cilantro

You can eat this with just the naan, or make a small serving of rice to go along with it.

*Tomato Sauce: this recipe is super special since I used 15oz of our homemade canned tomatoes from last summer. Our method of preserving tomatoes has been passed down for many generations in my husbands family. And while it’s not my favorite thing to do at the end of summer (OK, I’m good for one day, then I hate canning)

ย I cried today when I opened this 2016 tomato jar because it’s the last time we canned with my mother-in-law. She literally helped make tonight’s meal, and so it is even more special because of it.ย  Grateful for this memory and skill.ย  I added about a tbsp of tomato paste to thicken up my tomato. If you want to buy this in the store, you can – it’s in the canned good aisle. Tomato sauce. Pretty easy.

๐Ÿ‘‡ Don’t forget to SCRUB those potatoes. This scrubber is nice since it wears like a ring and makes scrubbing a lot easier. Good stocking stuffer.

Cheers to Thursday, I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of love and laughter.